I was recently accepted into an ADN program (woot woot!), and will begin in January. I received my BA in psychology and absolutely love the field. I felt a stronger pull towards health care, which is what eventually lead me to nursing. Nonetheless, my passion in mental health continues strong, and my goal is to become a psych nurse. What is the process nowadays to becoming a psych nurse only holding an RN (No masters/NP), and with little experience (as I will certainly have as a new grad)? Is it even possible to work in a psych unit without a masters degree? I "job search" a lot online, just to see what is currently out there, and the kind of qualifications most hospitals are seeking. It seems to be that many places will only consider if you have 1+ years of experience. I find that difficult to have as a new grad. How can it be done? I've researched RN residency programs, etc., so is that usually the only way to make the transition? Yes, nurses are certainly in high demand, but I feel that only EXPERIENCED nurses are what currently are being sought after. So back to my original question, if my goal is to become a psych nurse (without a masters degree -- if that is even possible), how can I go about it? And as a new nursing student (and someone who likes to get ahead), what can I start doing -now- to make myself a stronger candidate?
Thanks to everyone in advance for their advice and support! xo